What’s it about?
Reading comes alive when students can make multiple levels of connections to a book. Connecting with a story increases motivation to read, improves comprehension and builds overall reading skills.
Through your tutoring over the summer, you can engage students in reading by using 3 levels of connections:
Watch a video about the program:
Making Connections – 2017 Summer Program
Summary of steps:
- Pick a book to read based on your student’s interests and order it here.
- Give your student a quick, 15-question assessment to identify gaps in English/language arts skills (for grades K-7). Older students will consult with tutors to identify areas to work on.
- Engage your student with our suggested activities and prompts to make connections, keeping in mind specific gaps identified in the assessment.
- Complete and submit a creative final project and compete for a prize! (Send to email@example.com.)
Elementary School: $30.00 Shakey’s gift card
Middle School: 4 movie tickets
High School: $50.00 Amazon gift card
All participants will be entered into a drawing for a tablet!
- June 19: Begin Summer Program
- August 18: Final projects due! (email summer[at]schoolonwheels.org)
- August 21-25: Voting!
- August 28: Winners announced!
Please email summer[at]schoolonwheels.org if you need help with any of these steps. We’ll be happy to help you!
Our lessons are suggestions only. Please feel free to alter based on your student’s level and academic needs. All of the prompts can be modified for group tutoring scenarios.
K-3rd Weekly Guide
Students take a School on Wheels ELA assessment based on grade they just completed.
You will receive an email with correct/incorrect answers directing you to assessment resources. Identify 2-3 topic areas to work on and review basic concepts with your student. IMPORTANT: Keep the results!
Give student the summer read.
NOTE: For grades K-3, you should read aloud to your student and/or have student work on their reading skills. If the student can read independently, you can read more than one short book. If the student cannot read independently, focus on getting them to read and understand one or two books by the end of the summer. You may modify lesson suggestions below to fit your reading schedule.
Watch video on Making Connections together.
Why is it important to make connections to what we read?
What are the kinds of connections the video discussed?
Read book, following general prompts. This can be spread out over several weeks.
Make a bookmark with the student.
What do you think the book is about based on the title?
What do you think the book is about based on the illustrations?
Who is/are the main characters?
Is the story real or imaginary?
If you could be one of the characters, who would you be? Why? (Text to Self)
Did you like the book? Why or why not?
What was one of the problems the main character faced?
Can you relate to something that happened to one of the characters? (Text to Self)
Have you ever read a story like this before? (Text to Text)
Is there another character that you know of who is like the main character in this story? (Text to Text)
How does this book relate to something that happened in the real world? (Text to World)
Would you be friends with (character from the book)? Why or why not? (Text to Self)
WEEK FOUR/FIVE: Making Connections Activities
Discuss making connections between the book we read and ourselves, other books, and the world. Choose from the activities below, or make up your own if you prefer!
Grades K and 1:
- Draw a picture or write a letter to (character from the book).
- Draw a picture that could be illustrated in the book and explain why you drew it.
- Create a connection pizza! Cut out 8 triangle pieces from a circle (using construction paper) and have student write down a connection on each one. “I.e. I love dogs like the main character. My brother got in trouble like the brother in the story. Etc.” Then put them all together.
Grades 2 and 3:
- Making Connections Game. Students read a short story and identify responses as text-to-self, text-to-text and text-to-world.
For writing/reading activities, emphasize assessment areas you are targeting (from week 1 assessment).
Work on assessment areas using summer program writing prompts/School on Wheels Academic Program resources.
- Read second book (if you choose) and do more making connections activities (above).
- Start final project. Your student can draw/paint a picture of a scene; write a poem, song, rap, or letter to a character; create an epilogue to the story; turn a scene into a play; create a video story or video review; write a review for a newspaper; use a storytelling app to produce their own retelling; anything else you can think of!
Do follow-up assessment with your student. Compare results to see what they have improved on!
Complete final project and do any edits. Email a picture or word document to firstname.lastname@example.org.
4th-12th Weekly Guide
WEEK ONE: Introductions
- Grades 4-7: Have student take School on Wheels ELA assessment based on the grade they just completed. You will receive an email with correct/incorrect answers directing you to assessment resources. Identify 2-3 topic areas to work on and review basic concepts with your student. IMPORTANT: Keep the results!
- Grades 8-12: Work with student to identify ELA areas to focus on over summer using previous year’s homework and tests.
- Give student the summer read.
- Tell student you are going to be working on making connections between the book and a) yourselves, b) other books/movies/tv shows, etc. c) the world.
- The Making Connections Game may be useful for introducing the concept to students in grades 4-7. Students read a short story and identify responses as text-to-self, text-to-text and text-to-world. It also shows how some connections are not meaningful. You may also find this handout helpful.
- Older students may already have learned this concept. If so, have them explain the importance of making connections to you.
- Let student know they need to read a certain amount of pages for your next session, depending on book length. Encourage them to use post-its or take notes for important passages.
WEEK TWO: Text to Self
- Check in: Ask student how they like the book so far.
- Tutor reads favorite selection out loud to student. Tell them what it made you think of in your own life. Point out what made you enjoy the selection: it was funny, it made you sad, you liked the author’s word choice, a metaphor, etc. You are modeling for student what you would like them to do.
- Ask student to pick a selection they would like to read out loud. After, ask them why they chose that section. What made them enjoy it (or not)? Make sure they give a substantial answer rather than “just because.”
- 10-minute writing prompt: Has something like this (event in book) ever happened to me? OR How is my life different from what has happened in the book so far?
- Review student response and target ELA/assessment areas.
WEEK THREE: Text to Self
- Check in: Ask student: What happened in the book this week that surprised you? Why?
- 10-minute writing prompt: If what happened to the main character happened to me, how would I react? OR Write a letter to the main character to give them advice. Tutors can write along with student.
- Share your answers with each other (or as a group). Focus on targeting designated ELA/assessment areas.
- Spend 15 minutes reading the beginning of next week’s selection out loud together, alternating paragraphs.
WEEK FOUR: Text to Text
- Check in: “I found myself getting annoyed when….” OR “I loved the part when….”
- Discussion: What other books, TV shows or movies does this story remind me of? Why? (For tutor: Can student make meaningful, relevant connections between the text and other texts? If not (for instance if student’s connections are random or unclear, or merely causal, model a relevant connection for student before prompting again. The Making Connections game can help students learn to identify whether a connection is meaningful.)
- Analyze a passage of the book together, targeting ELA/assessment areas. For example, if student has problems using commas, find a sentence that uses commas correctly and discuss.
- What do you think is going to happen next? (Writing prompt or discussion).
WEEK FIVE: Text to Text
- Check in: How is the reading going? Any difficulties? (Make sure student is keeping up.)
- 10-minute writing prompt: How are the characters in this book similar or different from other things I’ve read?
- Make sure to review any writing and target ELA/assessment areas.
WEEK SIX: Text to World
- Check in: If you could change anything about the book so far, what would you change and why?
- 10-minute writing prompt: “How is this book similar or different to things that happen in the real world?” Discuss why you think the writer may have intended to have the reader make connections to the real world.
- Review writing and target ELA/assessment areas.
- Introduce final project. Student will produce a creative interpretation of their book. They can: draw/paint a picture of a scene; write a poem, song, rap, or letter to a character; create an epilogue to the story; turn a scene into a play; create a video story or video review; write a review for a newspaper; use a storytelling app to produce their own retelling; anything else you can think of! Bonus if student’s project makes a text-to-self, text-to-text or text-to-world connection.
WEEK SEVEN: Text to World
- Check in: If you have finished reading the book, what did you think overall? Would you recommend this book to a friend?
- 10-minute writing prompt: “Why do you think it is important to relate the things we read to ourselves, other texts, and the world?”
- Grades 4-6: Making Connections Paper Chain activity
- Work on final project.
WEEK EIGHT: Wrap Up
Grades 4-7: Do follow-up assessment with your student. Compare results to see what they have improved on!
Complete final project and do any edits. Email a picture or word document to summer[at]schoolonwheels.org by August 18.
- Parent/Shelter Staff Handout
Parent/Shelter Staff Handout (Spanish)
- Making Connections Questions (All Grades)
- Teaching Strategies for Making Connections (Grades 3-8)
- Making Connections Video (Grades K-3)
- For Tutors: How to Teach Making Connections Video (Grades K-3)
- How making connections creates better readers